An Easy Guide to Spot Cleaning Clothes, Upholstery and Carpets

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Spot cleaning is the process of addressing a stain on a fabric surface without having to wash the whole thing, and this can come in handy, especially inside your home. There’s nothing like an unsightly stain to ruin the overall comfort and appearance of your home, but not to worry because removing stains from your upholstery, clothes, and carpets can be easily done with a few simple steps!

What to Do Before Cleaning Upholstery and Carpet

After removing all items and covers, prepare the stain by using a clean cloth or paper towel to soak up as much of the excess liquid as possible as this will help make the stain removal much easier. Then, use your vacuum cleaner to remove all the surface-level dust and dirt that may have built up over the area.

Vacuuming the stained area is something you should do even when dealing with old stains. This will help remove dust and crumbs that may have built up over time, while also potentially fading the stain a bit.

How to Spot Clean Stained Upholstery and Carpet

Step 1: Choose a Cleaner

When choosing a cleaner for your upholstered furniture and carpets, make sure to opt for a gentle formula that’s specifically made to target fabric stains. Also, take the time to read through the instructions at the back.

Step 2: Start Cleaning

Apply your chosen cleaner onto the stain as recommended by the manufacturer. Make sure that you work from the outside and work your way towards the center as this will prevent the stain from spreading. Also, use gentle blotting motions rather than rubbing, which will only aggravate and worsen the stain. Finally, make sure that you don’t oversaturate the fabric too much by using as little at a time as possible.

Step 3: Rinse and Dry

Once the stain has completely disappeared, dampen a clean cloth with some water and dab this over the stained area to remove any remnants that the cleaner may have left behind. To finish, let the area dry completely before resuming use.

If you’re removing old stains, you can reactivate and loosen them first by steaming or misting them with water. Then, find a commercial fabric stain remover. Apply your chosen solution with either a cloth or a sponge, making sure to wring it out before dabbing it onto the stain. Once the stain is completely gone, use a dampened cloth to remove any residue before letting the spot air-dry
Tip: How to Spot Clean Stained Upholstery and Carpet Naturally
1. With Baking Soda: Cover the stain with baking soda and apply equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Apply mixture until stain is gone and remove residue with a damp cloth. Let the area dry.
2. With White Vinegar and Dish Soap: Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar and dish soap with two cups of water and apply the mixture to stain using a sponge or cloth. Use a damp cloth to blot away any residue and let the area dry.
3. With Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap: Combine one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and a few drops of dish soap in a bowl. Dampen the stain with the solution and leave for 15 minutes. Then, blot with a clean cloth and repeat until the stain is gone. Finally, use a damp cloth to remove any residue before leaving it to dry.

How to Spot Clean Clothes

Step 1: Prepare the Stain

If there are any solid particles or debris on the stain, carefully remove these before blotting the area with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Tip: For oily stains, blot the area with a slice of bread.

Step 2: Choose a Cleaning Solution

When looking for a cleaning solution, make sure to opt for a stain remover that’s actually made for clothes. Once that’s done, read the instructions on the printed label at the back.

Step 3: Start Cleaning

Before you start, face the stained side down so that the wrong side is exposed to you. Then, dampen a small cloth with your chosen stain remover before patting and blotting from the wrong side. Make sure to start at the edges then work toward the center to keep the stain from spreading. The stain will transfer onto the cloth you’re using to clean, so make sure that you always use a clean area when cleaning. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Tip: Use a white cloth to prevent color transfer and constantly adjust the cloth so that you're blotting with the dry side. Don’t use paper towels or sponges as these can leave lint or residue

Step 4: Leave to Dry

Once the stain is gone, use another clean and dry cloth to blot away as much moisture as before letting the area dry completely. You can help speed up the drying process by directing a cool breeze towards it, but make sure to avoid heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vinegar Clean Upholstery?

Yes, white vinegar can clean upholstery. The acidity of white vinegar helps break down and loosen up the stain, and white vinegar is actually formulated with acetic acid—a very popular ingredient found in many commercial cleaners

Does Vinegar Discolor Upholstery?

Generally, white vinegar doesn’t discolor upholstery, but it’s still important to spot-test your solution on an inconspicuous area of your upholstery, especially when dealing with delicate fabrics. You can also choose to dilute the white vinegar with some water as this will reduce the strength of its acidity.

How Long Can You Leave Vinegar in Upholstery?

When using white vinegar to clean upholstery, it’s best to only leave it for a few minutes at a time. This will be more than enough time for the white vinegar to penetrate and break down the stain effectively. Make sure that you blot away any residue with a damp cloth afterward.

Can Baking Soda Clean a Fabric Sofa?

Yes, baking soda can clean fabric sofas. Baking soda is known for being excellent at absorbing spilled liquids from fabric, as well as eliminating foul odors. It also has mild abrasive properties that can help you tackle more stubborn stains more efficiently.

Can I Use Dish Soap to Spot Clean Clothes?

Yes, you can use dish soap to spot clean clothes, but make sure that you only use a few drops at most directly on the stain during pre-treatment.

Additional Cleaning Tips

Address Stains Immediately

Regardless of what fabric material is affected, it’s important to address stains immediately to prevent them from becoming worse and much harder to remove. Always start by blotting away as much of the spill with a clean cloth or a paper towel, avoiding harsh rubbing motions that will only worsen the situation.

Regular Cleaning

It’s important to regularly vacuum upholstery and carpets to remove any surface dirt, dust, or debris. When these impurities build up, they can cling onto any spill or mess that lands on the fabric material, making it much harder to remove, while also increasing the chances of the stain leaving a permanent mark.

Professional Cleaning

Another way to keep these items in great condition is by hiring professional upholstery and carpet cleaning services to take care of the cleaning for you. Not only are the professional cleaners well-equipped to leave these things looking and feeling their best, but it’s also a great way to ensure that they’re being regularly cleaned, regardless of what life throws your way.

Things can get messy in your living room, especially when you’re having a great time with family and friends. However, that doesn’t mean that the stains that pop up have to be permanent. By following these quick and easy cleaning tips, you’ll be able to keep your upholstery and carpets looking amazing just in time for your next gathering.

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